Difficult Choices in Criminal Law
Difficult choices in criminal law are all over the place. To attack certain points of a case, to depose certain witnesses, to ask victims specific questions, to file a demand for speedy, etc. Part of being a good lawyer is navigating through the minefield of these difficult choices. An experienced lawyer has seen many of the pros and cons with each plan of attack and has spent many hours worrying about a strategic decision and how it will impact the case.
You hire a lawyer because walking you through difficult choices in criminal law is never easy, and you need someone with experience to help you get through the process. What’s often funny about the criminal justice system versus other life-threatening fields such as medicine, is that criminal justice clients are far more opinionated and want far more say in strategy. But why? If you go to prison for life on a 1st-degree felony or whether you lose your battle with a life-threatening disease, the consequences are similar= ultimate loss of life and liberty. Here’s an example of the lesser degree of scrutiny medical fields often face: you go into the doctor’s office and the doctor says he has to cut your arm off, otherwise the cancer will spread and it will kill you. The average person would want a second opinion. BUT, the average person isn’t going to attempt to argue medical procedure with you. Ultimately, it’s the doctor in the room operating while you are unconscious.
Yet, when it comes to the criminal justice system, the law is filled with people who believe they know better than their lawyer. It’s filled with those who believe their strategy is better than the lawyers. It’s filled with people who want to attempt to intervene in the lawyer’s work. If you find yourself falling into that category….stop for a second. Ask yourself why you hired the lawyer. Ask yourself why you need representation in a criminal case. You need it because YOUR LIFE AND YOUR LIBERTY ARE ON THE LINE! Lawyers have 4 years of college education, 3 years of higher-level education (juris dotor degree), they have to pass a complicated 2-day test involving months of study and preparation. AND, if they are good they will have litigated thousands of cases prior to your case. You simply cannot compete with that, you are not equipped to compete with that. That’s why you hire a lawyer.
If you find yourself here, please stop for a second and remember that you need an attorney, you need their experience, you need their education on the law. Let them do their job and advocate on your behalf. Time spent trying to console clients, and argue about strategy is time away from your case that could have been spent in a more productive way. Let them do their job and allow them to navigate the difficult choices in criminal law for you.